Thoughts On Rachel Dolezal – A Case Of Mistaken Identity

Karl Fowlkes
Current law student and aspiring Entrepreneur who is inspired by sub-culture. "Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real" - Tupac Shakur

Over the past few days, a social media storm has ensued regarding Rachel Dolezal. Who exactly is that you might ask? Well, she is the head of a NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington and is one of the most recognizable and prominent leaders of the black community in that area, according to CNN.

Accusations against Dolezal’s real race have sparked controversy all across the United States, which began after reports were released by Dolezal’s estranged mother that stated she is actually a white woman. The NAACP is respecting her privacy in the matter at the moment, not coming after her or trying to discredit who she actually is.

According to CNN reports, Dolezal also has an adopted black brother, who expressed that both his and Rachel’s treatment in their household growing up was rough and involved physical punishment. He even petitioned for emancipation in an attempt to live with Rachel “in a multiracial household where black culture is celebrated and I have a connection to the black community.”

With this issue arising around the same time as the Caitlyn Jenner announcement, people on social media have begun using a very interesting hashtag – #transracial. Of course, this is going to cause a lot of controversy and will stir the pot for some people.

What is interesting here, however, is that in addition to being the NAACP chapter head, she is also an expert in African American studies. While I think there is nothing wrong with someone studying a different culture and choosing to embrace it, identifying as such is different.

Rachel Dolezal lying about being black as a NAACP Chapter Leader is a troubling and, quite frankly, disturbing occurrence. According to a Washington Post article, her response to the initial allegation was, “That question is not as easy as it seems… there are a lot of complexities … and I don’t know that everyone would understand that.” She further states “We’re all from the African continent.”

Dolezal lying about her ethnicity is an absolute atrocity for the simple fact that she exploited it, used it to get a full scholarship at Howard University and has been marketing herself as something she simply is not. I also refuse to honor her argument that everyone is from the African continent, as she must know better than to use that as justification.

However, in terms of her advocacy for African American rights, a Caucasian woman being in a position of power for the NAACP should be well-received, but not in this particular scenario due to the dishonest representation of herself.

The idea of more Caucasian citizens contributing to the efforts of African American rights should be welcomed and is vital in terms of “bridging the gap.” Nonetheless, it is the mockery and fabricated portrayal of an African American woman that leaves many in disgust and many more questioning her reasoning.

Why is it that she felt she couldn’t make an impact on civil rights without being an impostor? All in all, her heart might have been in the right place, but the appropriate way to advocate is through truthful backing and not imitating a race.